Date
20 August 2018
Google is the latest internet company to clamp down on the cryptocurrency sector amid growing concerns about scams. Photo: Bloomberg
Google is the latest internet company to clamp down on the cryptocurrency sector amid growing concerns about scams. Photo: Bloomberg

Google bans cryptocurrency advertising

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is banning advertisements for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, making it the latest internet company to clamp down on the sector amid growing concerns about scams, Reuters reports.

Google’s action, which takes effect in June and follows a similar move by Facebook Inc. earlier this year, sent the price of the best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, down more than 10 percent to its lowest in a month, the news agency said.

“Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us,” said Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, on the company’s official blog, The Keyword.

Under the new policy, Google said it would ban ads for cryptocurrencies and related content such as initial coin offerings, crypto exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets and advertisements providing trading advice.

In January, Facebook said it would ban ads promoting financial products and services tied to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings because of the risks to users.

Regulators across the globe have warned consumers about the risks of investing in crypto markets, but internet companies are introducing outright bans because they worry there is not currently sufficient protection for consumers.

The chief executive of the British arm of Coinbase, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, said Google’s decision was a positive development that would not dampen demand, although he viewed the ban as too widespread.

“The Google ban is perhaps too broad as it is. It should be narrowed down” to companies that pitch cryptocurrencies as investments promising a return, Zeeshan Feroz told Reuters.

The price of bitcoin traded on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange on Wednesday fell almost 10 percent to US$8,201, the lowest since Feb. 12. It was last down 8.7 percent at US$8,337.51. Other large cryptocurrencies also fell. 

Bitcoin has lost about 40 percent of its value this year after rocketing more than 1,300 percent in 2017.

Google also said on Wednesday it would stop ads for financial products like binary options and similar products, contracts for difference, rolling spot forex and financial spread betting.

Companies wanting to promote those products would need to be registered with the relevant financial regulators before they could advertise again.

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RC/CG

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